On the plane down to my parents house for a visit, on the way out of the house I grab a random book for the plane out of my gargantuan TBR pile. It’s Snow Angels, by James Thompson. I honestly don’t even remember when or where I bought it. Nordic noir, from Finland. Thompson was an American living in Finland, who unfortunately died in 2014 at the age of 49.
Snow Angels reminds me strongly of John Burdett’s wonderful Sonchai Jitpleecheep series set in Thailand, in that it gets well and truly inside the head of a different culture, and makes it both strange and accessible, and in the process delivering an intriguing mystery.
Snow Angels explores Finland, where the winter night can last months, drinking is endemic and suicides are common. Kari Vaara is chief of police investigating the horrific death of a beautiful Somali actress. Is it a hate crime, or something else?
The mystery curls in on itself pretty quickly, where Kari knows one of a handful of people did it, but can’t quite connect the dots to figure out who. The writing is fast paced and the setting sucks me in; I finish the book on a 2 hour plane flight.
Comparisons to Girl with the Dragon Tattoo arise naturally, both because of the books as well as the unfortunate and premature death of the author; if you like one, you’ll like the other. It’s sad that Thompson is gone, but he’s left a few books in the series and I’m looking forward to checking them out.
A playlist featuring Anders Niska